Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche


James : In-Demand Air Force Experiences Strain

By Amaani Lyle, DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD News) – February 27, 2015 –The Air Force is requesting $10 billion above what sequestration-level funding provides in order to support its global responsibilities, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James told members of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee here today.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James testifies before the House Appropriations Committee

James said the potential return of sequestration jeopardizes the Air Force’s ability to sustain its various global missions and hampers its ability to focus on its main priorities: people, modernization and stewardship.

“Sequestration needs to be lifted, lifted permanently,” the secretary said.

Combatant Commander Requirements

James said the request for $10 billion in additional funding is based on combatant commander requirements and the need for Air Force support to joint operations worldwide.

The Air Force is the smallest it’s been since it was established in 1947, James said. And it has a lot of older aircraft, while the demand for air support remains high.

“The average age of our Air Force [airmen] is about 27 years old but there are many [aircraft] fleets that are substantially older than that,” James said. “More than half of our combat air forces … are not sufficiently ready for a high-end fight.”

James said the Air Force provides two-thirds of the support to maintain the United States’ nuclear arsenal. Airmen also perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, she added, and carry out strike missions in Iraq and Syria to support the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“I fear we’re either going to break or we absolutely will not be able to do the defense strategic guidance that has been laid out for us,” James said.

People a Top Priority

Taking care of people is a top Air Force priority, said James, noting she takes service members’ concerns about downsizing seriously.

“We have to stop this downsizing; enough is enough,” the secretary said. “We need to upsize … modestly, active Guard and reserve to a total end strength of 492,000.”

That increase in personnel would allow the Air Force to redirect people to the nuclear enterprise, she said, and fill critical gaps in its cyber and maintenance teams.

James also reported plans to expand sexual assault prevention and response program services with augmented training, plus-ups in the special victims counseling programs, and provision of full-time sexual assault response coordinators.

Other goals include increases in child care support, fitness centers and educational benefits, as well as a 1.3 percent pay increase, she said.

Balance Between Readiness, Modernization

The balance between readiness and modernization is a vital element to ensure the Air Force is ready for the high-end fight, James said.

“Our proposal will fully fund flying hours to the maximum executable level, will invest properly in weapons system sustainment, and ensure that our combat exercises … remain strong,” she said.

The secretary reported that she and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III consulted closely with combatant commanders to assemble the additional $10 billion budget request with a focus on ISR, U-2 and Airborne Warning and Control System programs.

James also noted the need to support vital space programs and the nuclear enterprise, with additional investments in the KC-46 Pegasus refueling aircraft, F-35 Lightning II, and the long-range strike bomber, which she said will remain on track with the Air Force’s budget proposal to Congress.

Making Each Dollar Count

The secretary told Congress the Air Force is “driving steadily” toward auditability of its financial books, and it’s taking on a 20 percent reduction in headquarters funding, which includes civilians, contractors and redirection of military personnel.

There are difficult money-saving choices for the Air Force, such as the retirement of the A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” aircraft over time, a proposal to slow military compensation growth, and consideration of a new round of base realignment and closures, James said.

Still, if sequestration remains the law of the land, James said the budget constraints portend even more sacrifices, including divestment in programs such as ISR, U-2, AWACs, KC-10 and F-35 procurements, total force flying hours, weapons system sustainment, and cancellation of the adaptive engine program.

“Your United States Air Force is still the best on the planet, but we mustn’t take that for granted because we are a force under strain,” James said. “And we mustn’t let our edge slip away.”

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDODNews)
Contact Author

Deborah Lee James

Related Sites:
Special Report: Sequestration
The Defense Department on Facebook
The Defense Department on Twitter
DoD News on Twitter
DoDLive Blog
DoD News Broadcast Channel

Related Articles:
Air Force Seeks $10 Billion Over Sequestration Funding

Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin

Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).